The St. George Temple Tower : Evolution of a Design
Journal of Mormon History
Salt Lake City, UT
Mormon History Association
After relating the Mormon folk story which attributes the change in the design of the St. George Temple tower to Brigham Young's posthumous directive in the form of a lightning strike, Jones then discusses the development of the design of the tower, and the myth. He uses evidence from the time of the temple's construction to debunk the idea that Brigham Young was dissatisfied with the original tower, which itself was modified from Truman O. Angell's initial design. After the lightning strike the tower was again redesigned because many felt that the original tower did not fit proportionally or stylistically with the rest of the building. The myth of Brigham Young's dissatisfaction with the original tower seems to have originated in the 1970's, from joking references to the incident involving architectural historian Paul. L. Anderson. Anderson was reading the diary of Brigham Young Jr. during that time, which is the only source from the 1870's that mentions President Brigham Young's negative opinion of the tower design. Saints at the time did not view the lightning strike as a sign of prophetic wrath, but rather were grateful that it had not set the temple afire or done further damage to the structure.